In a letter to UnitedHealth Group and the Montefiore Health System, Representatives Adriano Espaillat (NY-13) and Ritchie Torres (NY-15), in collaboration with Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Jamaal Bowman (NY-16) and Mondaire Jones (NY-17), call for the urgent and immediate resolution of negotiations that have stalled since last month while potentially leaving over 60,000 without in-network access to their doctors and hospitals in their communities while continuing to combat COVID-19.
“During this COVID-19 pandemic, New Yorkers relied on UHC and Montefiore in tandem for their health care that they knew and relied upon. We are told the result of arrested negotiations leaves over 60,000 patients in the Bronx, Newburgh, and White Plains without in-network access to their doctors and hospitals. Many of us have heard from constituents concerned about this loss of healthcare access,” stated members in the joint letter.
As previously reported, contract negotiations between the Montefiore Health System and UnitedHealthcare have stalled for nearly a month as more than 60,000 patients could be burdened with higher fees for services no longer considered in-network and face increased out of pocket expenses as a result.
This is a critical time especially for minority communities that continue to be devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Members urge UnitedHealth Group to return to the negotiating table and work in good faith to reach a mutually agreeable outcome.
Read the letter in its entirety below:
January 21, 2021
David S. Wichmann
Chief Executive Officer
Minneapolis, MN 55440-1459
Dr. Philip O. Ozuah, MD, PhD
President and Chief Executive Officer
Montefiore Health System
111 East 210th Street,
Bronx, NY 10467
Dear Messrs. Wichmann and Ozuah:
We understand that UnitedHealth Group and its affiliate UnitedHealthcare of New York (“UHC”) and the Montefiore Health System (“Montefiore”) were unable to come to a resolution and agreement during negotiations, before the end 2020. During this COVID-19 pandemic, New Yorkers relied on UHC and Montefiore in tandem for their health care that they knew and relied upon. We are told the result of arrested negotiations leaves over 60,000 patients in the Bronx, Newburgh, and White Plains without in-network access to their doctors and hospitals. Many of us have heard from constituents concerned about this loss of healthcare access.
With over two weeks since the negotiation deadline having passed, we urge both UHC and Montefiore to return to the negotiating table and work in good faith to reach a mutually agreeable outcome. Until this matter is resolved, we will continue to urge all parties to work together and find a solution to this impasse that invariably impacts the health and safety of New Yorkers who will still require healthcare during this COVID-19 pandemic.
Representative Espaillat is the first Dominican American to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives and his congressional district includes Harlem, East Harlem, West Harlem, Hamilton Heights, Washington Heights, Inwood, Marble Hill and the north-west Bronx.
First elected to Congress in 2016, Representative Espaillat is serving his third term in Congress. Representative Espaillat currently serves as a member of the influential U.S. House Committee on Appropriations responsible for funding the federal government’s vital activities.
He is also a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), where he serves as the Second Vice Chair and is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, where he serves as Deputy Whip.